The only consistent presence on Kentucky’s offense is the Wildcat offensive line. A physical, experienced group, they’ve made far fewer mistakes than most on UK’s offense, leading the way for an aggressive rushing attack.
Saturday night against Tennessee, the offensive line paved a path for the Wildcats to move the ball down the field. They simply stalled out one too many times.
“We had two nine-play drives and a 12-play drive and we didn’t finish. I said that Saturday night,” said Eddie Gran. “We didn’t finish. We had opportunities and didn’t get it done.”
This week Lynn Bowden did not have to do it alone. Chris Rodriguez ripped off 6.8 yards per carry and Kavosiey Smoke gained 7.3 yards per attempt. The backs made third downs more manageable before Bowden did something magical.
“He makes us look real good,” said senior offensive guard Logan Stenberg. “We’ll miss a block and he’ll scramble for 40 yards and it looks designed. It makes it really easy. I think as an offensive line, we’re a damn good unit up front, so we can go in between the tackles when we need to and Lynn back there makes us look good.”
Bowden made them look good until the very end of the game. Needing one yard in two plays, Rodriguez was stuffed on third down. On the following play the UK quarterback was tackled two yards shy of the goal line. Speaking on behalf of the rest of his teammates, Stenberg shouldered the blame for the loss.
“I don’t think it’s a short-yardage problem. As you saw on fourth and one, we ran wedge and blew them off the ball for three yards. It’s definitely not a short yardage problem, it’s getting our hat where we need to be and executing better. We put that loss on the offensive line. It doesn’t matter what’s called, we need to be able to get one yard. It doesn’t matter if we’re running straight verts. We need to be able get a yard. That’s on us.”